Every Architectural structure or building is a creation of a person or group, who’s cultural inspiration and influences help shape its design.
While on a trip to Reykjavik Iceland, I had a chance to visit many of it’s symbolic architectural creations as well as its more mundane structures. Based heavily on it’s nomadic culture and natural phenomena, Iceland’s architecture is comprised of elegant yet awe inspiring simple forms. The play of mass and void, as well as the reflection, and refraction of the precious daylight, infuses each building with transcending feeling of timelessness and peace. Set against the bleak and jagged surroundings, Reykjavik is a city of color with its vast array of brightly colored buildings dotting the landscape.
As a coastal city, Reykjavik has to endure many harsh elements from mother nature, including high winds, extreme salt deposits from the ocean, and massive amounts of snow during the winter months. This coupled with widely varying hours of daylights (20-22hours in summer and 4-5 during the winter), create a challenging environment for its residents and visitors.
As a result many of Reykjavik’s buildings are made of robust and resilient building materials including metal, concrete and glass. The challenge hereby is to create buildings that are both inviting and protective of it’s occupants. An important consideration is the phycological effect of light on human beings as well as the thermal comforts in extreme temperature conditions. During my stay in Reykjavik I visited the Harpa concert building. A great architectural example which addresses these issues and opportunities very well. Contextualism in architecture produces significant buildings such as the Harpa building. They manifest the culturally important aspects as well as unique climatic solutions.